10. Shopping on the Wrong Days
All days of the week aren’t equal when it comes to grocery shopping. You probably already know not to head to the grocery store for chips and salsa when it’s game day because of the crowds, but if you want to get the best deals, consider shopping mid-week and late in the day (especially on a Wednesday) when breads, meats, and other foods with limited shelf lives tend to be marked down. You can also ask your local store when they mark down these items and when they restock their produce so you can get the freshest food. It also pays to stock up on grocery items when they go on sale for the month; April, for example, is a good time to pick up baking supplies.
6. Buying Produce Out of Season
When fruits and vegetables are in season, they’re not only cheaper, they taste so much better and are healthier for you. If you buy locally, you also support your community. Several resources will tell you what’s in season now. There’s RipeTrack (shown above), Eat the Seasons, and Epicurious’ interactive map.
2. Shopping on an Empty Stomach
You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: Do your grocery shopping on a full stomach. Otherwise, everything in the store might be too tempting. You might also chew mint gum while shopping to avoid stores’ scent marketing tactics and wear headphones in case the store’s music could manipulate you to spend more money.
1. Not Having a Meal Plan
In short, you need a plan when grocery shopping. Perhaps the most important plan is your meal plan, which solves several of these common mistakes. Here’s how to get started planning your weekly meals, how to do it even on a tight budget, and our five favorite meal planning apps.